Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced a new $10 million plan to purchase large, durable trash cans for every household in the city area. This is part of a method to better control the city’s problem with rat infestations, and to help prevent the injury of sanitation workers.
House mice are one of the most troublesome pests for a homeowner, as they are difficult to capture, and riddled with bacteria. To recognize a mouse infestation, look for droppings, tracks, or signs of gnawing. A house mouse produces between 40 and 100 droppings per day, which are usually found in areas such as the pantry or kitchen. Similarly, rats leave just as many droppings and carry the same diseases — and then some (e.g. Rat Bite Fever).
The trash cans each hold 64 gallons of waste, will be equipped with two wheels, a tight fitting lid, and a tracking device. The Baltimore Sun reports that the trashcans are expected to be distributed to Baltimore homes by early next year, at no cost to residents.
The idea originally came from a pilot program launched a year ago, which provided over 9,000 trash cans to homes in the Belair-Edison and Mondawmin areas. Since the program was launched, calls for rat extermination in the area have dropped almost 75%, and there were fewer reported worker accidents.
“The results of the pilot confirmed what we thought,” Says Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “Well-designed, well-built trash cans are easy for citizens to use and are easier for our solid-waste crews to handle.”
Officials say they are still looking for a vendor for the 210,000 trash cans. The project will also include the retrofitting of lifts on city garbage trucks, which will reduce injuries among sanitation workers. Mayor Rawlings-Blake believes the savings from exterminating fewer rats and reduced workers compensation programs will offset the costs of the program.